Interesting Tidbits –Earthquakes and Islands, Bacon, and Messy vs Tidy Desks

1. On September 24, 2013 there was a huge and devastating 7.7 earthquake in an isolated part of southern Pakistan that was felt several hundred miles away. baconEven tragedy however creates new life and opportunity. The earthquake created a new island off the coast of Gwadar, about 200 miles southwest of the quake’s epicenter. Right now, it’s measuring about 30 feet high and 100 feet long.

Scientists are not sure if this is a temporary “mud volcano” that will soon disappear or if there is rock beneath that will stabilize it for centuries to come. According to seismologists, mud volcanoes form when sand and muck gush to the water’s surface under pressure after an earthquake. This present day event got me understanding just a little more about how islands, mountains, deserts, and the like are actually formed.

2.  Have you ever stopped to contemplate why we love the smell of bacon, roasted coffee, caramel, chocolate, and toast? It’s all about chemistry! The Republic of Bacon explains that the amazing smell of bacon is due to the Maillard reaction, when “reduced sugars react with amino acids under heat.” In the case of bacon, the meat protein breaks down into amino acids and the fats in the bacon have some reducing sugars in them. When you heat up the fats, those sugars combine with the other molecules to create an appealing smell.

You know how there is honey-baked ham or sugar cured bacon? That is what increases the probability that the Maillard reaction will take place. And that’s why some people love to add maple syrup to their bacon that is floating around their pancakes.

3. Messy Desk People vs The Organized Desk People. There is a new study out of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota that looks at how messy vs tidy desks affect people. Researchers conducted three studies. In the first one, subjects were seated in front of either a messy or tidy desk and were asked to do some busy work. They then chose between a chocolate bar or apple when they left. Participants who sat in front of a tidy desk were two times more likely to select an apple than the chocolate bar. (Maybe the tidy desk instilled more discipline to eat healthy?)

In the second study, subjects sat behind either a messy or tidy desk and were asked to come up with novel ideas to use a ping-pong ball. The messy desk group seemed to come up with more innovative ideas.

The last study, participants sat behind the messy or tidy desk and choose from a menu whether they wanted a vitamin boost in a smoothie and whether it should be “classic” or “new” boost. Researchers found people who sat behind the messy desk chose the “new” flavor vitamin boost much more often than the “classic.”

The study’s conclusion? Untidy desks lead to novelty seeking, which is related to creativity and innovation but those people will likely live unhealthy and inefficient lives. The tidy desk people tend to be more fit and get their work done. Maybe the moral of this research is this: if you want to change your level of efficiency or creativity, make your workspace reflect your goal and see if there is a change.

So regardless of whether you’re contemplating an island’s creation, eating bacon, or gazing at your desk, remember to keep your copy of Attitude Reconstruction near by so you are prepared for anything!



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